It’s over – We did it!

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon was wonderful, well, the crowd support was super, water stations every mile, lots of great scenery, too many hills, great food at the finish, lots of port-a-potties on the course, great traffic control, weather was perfect for running and best of all – my best friends Annette and Kim ran every mile with me. Even though I did start the whining and complaining about mile 12.5, I didn’t think I could run anymore, but I did.

Let me start at the beginning, Friday the big red truck arrived at my house promptly at 9:30, we loaded up the Focus and hit the road, a couple of errands, a stop at Starbuck’s and we hit the Interstate. We had to stop in Carlisle to pick up my camera, I had left it at my Mother’s at Thanksgiving, we also used this as a bathroom break. We did not make anymore stops until we arrived at Cook Convention Center in Memphis.

We found a parking space pretty quickly, paid our 5 bucks and made our way inside the convention center to pick up our racing packets and enjoy the expo. They were very organized, your name was on a board with a number, where we were photographed by the guy from the Commercial Appeal paper, Superstars!, then they had several different stations set up, one to pick up your bib and chip, one to scan your chip, another to pick up your goody bag and yet another to get your t-shirt. So the whole process was very smooth and not crowded at all considering there were 11,000 runners for the race.

I think we hit every booth in the Expo, it wasn’t huge or anything, but we took our time, Kim and I both got new inserts for our shoes, Annette got 3 spi-belts, I bought a new Mizuno Breath Thermo top, Kim got a new pair of Saucony shoes for 39.00 and a jacket for 9.99. There were some great deals, but I have got to stop spending money on myself! and I have plenty of running stuff anyway.

We ran into Kelly and Robert when we were leaving the expo, at this point we were starving to death, it was around 2:00 and we had not eaten yet, we decided to head toward my Aunt Martha’s who we were staying with and eat something out there. She lives in Cordova and when we got off at the Germantown Road exit there was so much traffic it was crazy, but Kim spotted a place called Newk’s, it was great!! We all ate pretty light since it was so late in the afternoon and we needed a good dinner the night before our big race!

We arrived at Aunt Martha’s around 3:30 and she was not there yet, we were just sitting down when she pulled up. She had Grace in tow, she is my cousin’s daughter, 9 years old, and a little on the hyper side to put it mildly. I wasn’t sure if she was spending the night or not, but had a suspicion she was, we were in for a wild night! It was so good to see my Aunt, love her to death, she is such a sweetheart, she would do anything for anyone. We were taking her to dinner with us, Grace too. My cousin Amanda, not Grace’s mom, came by to say Hi and meet everyone, she stayed for a bit and it was great to see her too, little did I know she is expecting in June.

Annette had been talking back and forth with Kelly, Joan, and some other Cabot Cruisers about dinner, my Aunt had suggest J. Alexander’s, yummy, I had eaten at the one in Boca Raton, it’s a great restaurant, but I thought it might be a little pricey for some folks, it’s not really, but it’s not Applebee’s either. We all decided to meet at 6:15 for dinner, we ending up waiting for about 20 minutes on a table and then had to sit in two booths back to back. Kim and I sat with Aunt Martha and Grace, let me say I now know more than I ever wanted to know about Hannah Montana, apparently she had gone to the concert in Memphis the night before. We had a great dinner, so delicious, I would have gotten something much more exciting than the chicken sandwich if I hadn’t been running the next morning, but it was still very good. Here’s a shot of the table behind us, Kelly, Robert, Annette, Joan and Ginny digging into a huge piece of Carrot Cake.

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After dinner we needed to get back and get ready for bed, I was pooped and so was Annette and Kim. Aunt Martha gave Kim and Annette her bed and then I slept on a foam mattress on the floor, it was comfortable, I just didn’t sleep well. I would wake up every-time I started dreaming, it was kinda strange, and then I was cold too. At 3:30 I started coughing and had to get up and get some water, it was a rough night for me. The alarm went off at 5:45 and we got up soon after that. Our plan was to leave at 6:45am race to start at 8:00 and we had a 20-25 minute drive to downtown.

The dreary day on Friday was gone, blue skies and little wind at 7:00am when we left Aunt Martha’s, off to the race. I shared half a granola bar with Annette and drank some water, I felt dehydrated, the traffic was worse than expected, they were doing some roadwork at one point, yikes! are we going to make it? but of course. Kelly had called Annette and told her where they had parked, we just went down Second street and parked in Peabody Place. Perfect, only a couple of blocks from the start. We decided not to do a back check, just not enough time and we were close enough to the car if we needed to come back. Annette and I both needed to use the bathroom before the start and the line to the port-a-potties was not short, we stood in line for a while, we finally got in our corral at about 5 till 8. We looked for Kelly and Robert, but we could not find them. We did see Susan, but she was headed to another corral, so it was a quick, hi and bye.

It was pretty cool and windy before the start, but the sun was shining and you could tell it was going to be a perfect day for the race, I was still very nervous, nervous about only running 10 miles prior to this race, nervous about my stomach, just everything. With the wave start we ended up starting about 10 minutes after the 8:00 start. We were in a pack of people for the entire race. And hills, I thought this course was flat, or pretty flat, oh no, quite a few inclines. The run down Riverside drive was beautiful, this was after mile 1, but you could see the Mississippi River and the bridges, it was really beautiful and then we turned up this huge hill, but we all ran up it, it was hard and then on to Beale street. That was pretty cool, lots of crowds here, people cheering you on, it really helps, we would wave and thank people too. I had carried this tiny bottle of water with me so I didn’t get water at any of the aid stations for quite a long time, which was good, the bottle was so small, I forgot I had it and Kim and Annette could get water when they needed it and then catch up to my slow butt.

We didn’t stop until mile 5, Annette and I both had to use the port-a potties, when I was standing outside, Kelly went by, Wow, we had been looking for her and there she went. Annette was inside the bathroom and I yelled at her about Kelly. Once I got inside the bathroom, I couldn’t go, the whole port-a-potty was wobbling and I thought it was going to tump over, I had my pants down and couldn’t pee, I wasn’t about to sit down, my legs were shaking and I needed to go, but couldn’t, I finally did, but this stop cost us a good 3 minutes or so.

After the break we were off again, I could tell I was slowing down at mile 6, I was just saying to myself, 1 mile at a time and with the aid stations every mile, it really made a difference, you could see them and hear them in the distance, so the miles didn’t seem so far apart. We were on this street North Parkway, I think, it was so long, 2-3 miles I think and I just wanted to be off that road, and it finally turned into the service entrance to the zoo, that was around mile 8, I had to stop and take the stupid brace off my ankle, it was killing my foot, it felt so tight I could not wear it another step. I still had that stupid little bottle of water, after I got my shoe back on it was hard to get moving again. At mile nine they were supposed to have some GU, I never saw it, neither did Kim or Annette, so we just kept going.

Once we got through Overton Park after mile 9 we were on another straight away, but I knew my Aunt Martha and Grace would be waiting for us somewhere so I started scanning for them and all of a sudden I could see them in the distance. I pointed them out to Kim and Annette and we started waving our arms at them, but it was like they were looking right through us. We got right up on them before they saw us. Aunt Martha threw her arm around me and started running with me! It was so great and emotional, I had tears in my eyes, she was telling me how good I was doing and how proud she was of me. It helped me so much, I think we actually went a little faster after that. Wow, 3 more miles to go.

Those last two miles were tough. Most of it is a fog, around mile 11.5 there was this guy he said, you guys look like hell, but you’re almost done, we all laughed and said Thanks! And people were saying at mile 12, it’s all downhill from here, it wasn’t downhill literally, which is what I wish it was. It was downhill into the stadium the last quarter mile thank goodness. But, the last half mile was so tough, my whole body was hurting, Kim said you can’t stop now, I knew I could finish, I just needed to stop for a few seconds and then we ran it in. We finished in 2:29 something. 10 minutes faster than I finished the Little Roch Half Marathon in March this year so that was good. But, still a little slower than I had hoped. But all in all, it was a good race, glad it’s done, I reached my goal and now it’s off to keep training for the Little Rock Marathon 26.2 miles in March 2008. Here are the miles

  • Mile 1 10:43
  • Mile 2 10:28
  • Mile 3 10:36
  • Mile 4 10:19
  • Mile 5 10:48
  • Mile 6 10:49
  • Mile 7 10:54
  • Mile 8 11:02
  • Mile 9 11:59
  • Mile 10 11:34
  • Mile 11 11:09
  • Mile 12 11:26
  • Mile 13 11:20

My Garmin was set to Pause when stopped, so when we stopped for the bathroom and to take my ankle brace off it is not reflected in our times. My Garmin said 2:25:00, average 11:00, Annette and Kim’s both had 2:29 something. average 11:12. I’m a little sore today, but not bad, my two long toes are sore, they are the toes next to my big toe, they are a little longer than the big one and they are tender, do I need bigger shoes? My hamstrings and quads know they did some work, but I’m good. Thanks again to Annette and Kim for sticking with me!

Checkout Annette’s blog for some pictures

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3 Responses

  1. You did great Cheryl!! I loved running with you and Kim.

  2. Way to go Cheryl!!!!! You did a FANTASTIC job.

    Were we at the same race? I don’t think so. My race was AWFUL. No crowd support, horrible roads, all hills. LOL!

    I am very, very proud of you. And I will cheer like hell for you at the LR 26.2!!!! (I’ll probably be doing the half.)

    Go girl go!

  3. Cheryl, way to go on bettering you LR time! It was tough, especially the last few miles, but worth every stride knowing now that we finished and it was for a great cause. Hope your toes are better. I have had that same problem and sized up 1/2 size in my shoe, but did not run in the new ones Saturday. See you on the road!

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